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Greek banks under pressure amid fears the ECB may bring forward stress tests

For one more day, Greek banks suffered losses in Athens Stock Exchange over fears the European Central Bank may bring forward Greek bank stress test next year.

By closing of  the ASE session on Sept 26/2017,  losses and wins of the four Greek systemic banks were:

  • Alfa Bank -8.52%
  • National Bank ETE -4.26%
  • Piraeus -7.42%
  • Eurobank +3.10%

Economic news website capital.gr underlines that the “heavy artillery” of buyers had to be mobilized  today in order to reduce losses and protect backers, despite the banks’ sell off.”

The “heavy artillery” of buyers had to be mobilized today to eventually reduce losses on the Athens Stock Exchange and to protect the backers, despite the bank’s sell off.

ASE on Sept 26/2017

Μάχες γιγάντων στο Χρηματιστήριο περιόρισαν τις απώλειες

The banking index closed down 4.86% at 748.87 points, although in inter-session was even at -10.65%.

“The banking sector recorded strong losses for yet another session, raising its September loss account to 27.7%,” capital.gr notes adding “Only for the month of September that hasn’t finished yet, the sector’s capitalization has collapsed by 3,052 billion euros and 29% as a whole, with Piraeus bank losing 1,047 billion euros, Eurobank 503 million, Alpha Bank 833 million euros and the National  Bank 668 million euros.”

The downfall of the banks started in July after the International Monetary Fund demanded a new asset-quality review. (see below).

A source told Reuters on Monday that the ECB may bring forward its stress test of Greek banks next year to ensure there would be plenty of time before the bailout ends to re-capitalise banks, should the exercise uncover any capital shortfall. The stress tests could be finalized in early May.

According to Bloomberg, the Bank of Greece plans to start stress tests for the country’s four systemic banks in late February with a view to determine by June if they need fresh capital before the end of the Greek bailout program.

 European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said Monday that the Single Supervisory Mechanism may front-load stress tests for Greek banks. Banks have been asked to send data by the end of February, a Bank of Greece official said, requesting anonymity in line with policy. Another official said the results of the tests may even be ready in the first two weeks of May.

As Greece prepares for a post-bailout era when the program ends in August, shrinking bad loans at banks has become the most pressing issue. At the end of the first semester non-performing loans, excluding off-balance sheet exposures, stood at 72.8 billion euros ($86.4 billion), missing the target set by supervisory authorities for 72.4 billion euros. The non-performing exposure ratio was 50.6 percent, higher than the 50 percent target.

 The push to complete the stress tests comes after the International Monetary Fund’s demand in July for a new asset-quality review, or AQR, for Greek banks. The AQR request has cast a shadow over the banking system and economy. Since late July, the country’s banking index has tumbled more than 30 percent.
The International Monetary Fund has been pushing for a fresh asset quality check at Greek banks, possibly as part of a bailout review that is slated to start soon, a suggestion the ECB, which supervises top Greek banks, has firmly rejected.

But ECB President Mario Draghi, speaking to members of the European Parliament, hinted on Monday that the ECB is willing to exercise some flexibility with its timeline.

“The SSM (Single Supervisory Mechanism) will take its decision with full independence,” Draghi said.

During a visit in Athens on Monday, Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said as Greece moves towards the end of the bailout, it was also important to establish that Greek banks were “stable and strong”. It was up to banking authorities, and chiefly the European Central Bank, to decide how to assess them, he said.

“If that can be done with the stress test, that’s fine. If it requires an AQR (asset quality review), so be it,” Dijsselbleom said in an interview to Skai TV.

Greek banks have been recapitalised three times since the debt crisis exploded in 2010 “but are still burdened by 100-plus billion euros of soured debt,” Reuters notes.

PS just when I thought: What do I miss in my Greek life? Oh! Another bank recapitalization!

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3 comments

  1. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    The entire global banking system is a corrupt and catastrophic mess — primarily owing to the deregulation of banking forced onto the world by right wing politicians.

    How many politicians responsible for this are in gaol? Zero.

    How many corrupt bankers responsible are in gaol? Zero, if we exclude junior personnel who are not actually responsible.

    How many billionaires and multimillionaires across the world lost their money over this? Zero. In fact, most have made massive profits since 2008.

    How many ordinary people have lost their savings, their lives and everything that matterered to them, since 2008? Millions.

    The only question that remains to be answered is why the rich are roaming the streets unmolested while others are searching the garbage bins for rotting food to eat. The answer is CORRUPTION.

  2. Say what you want with your theories, but the fact is:

    1. Greeks are not returning money to banks (I agree with them, who on earth would put money in Greek banks??)
    2. Non Performing Loans are at like 40%, and no one believes the Greek banks when they say we will deal with it!

    So that means the banks are in deep trouble yet again, conspiracy or no conspiracy!

  3. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    @Syrizee. Theories? You are off your head. The entire educated world knows that banks are bankrupt, and survive on government largesse with taxation money in order to protect the rich (including politicians). Describing facts as “theories” is what we expect of fat-bellied arseholes like Trump. All banks are in trouble, including Greek ones.